Researchers for the glass and ceramics manufacturer Corning dabbled with chemically strengthened glass in 1960. They came up with an incredibly strong hard thin glass that was close to break-proof. But nobody could see any commercial possibilities for Gorilla Glass, as it was called, thus the research was shelved. Almost 50 years later, in 2006, Steve Jobs of Apple was deep in brainstorming the first iPhone. He asked Corning if anything was available for a scratch-resistant face for handheld Apple devices that were on the drawing board. Suddenly Corning had a market —a huge market —for Gorilla Glass. That was only the beginning.
Today, a whole new field of engineering and design, media architecture, is taking form with specially adapted forms of chemically enhanced glass creating new possibilities for communication. Corning itself has produced soft sell videos, all with millions of hits on YouTube, that show utopian lifestyles built around large-scale displays—touchscreens the size of walls, flat work surfaces, and conference tables with more functions and adaptability than any laptop or computer tablet. There are household appliances that communicate intuitively, and libraries like nothing in existence. Exterior displays include bus stop maps with updated status reports on each and every bus. Digital automobile features we know today are nothing compared to Corning’s vision for tomorrow behind the steering wheel.
Meanwhile, new display technology with light-emitting diodes, usually called LEDs, is leading to building materials that can transform architecture. LEDs can be integrated into building fabric that becomes a structural façade.
2.5.7 Internet-Delivered Communication 1. Objective: Differentiate types of communication used in media-convergent
On a smaller scale, Gorilla Glass melds interpersonal and mass communication into single devices. For some people, fascinated with gadgets, the melding obscures important distinctions between the types of communication that these devices deliver.
A conversation with grandma, for example, is still one-on-one interpersonal communication, even when video-enhanced with Skype. Passing the phone around the table to bring the whole family into the conversation doesn’t somehow make it mass communication. Yes, a hand-held smartphone or a futuristic Gorilla wall can also bring in mass messages, like a YouTube video, a movie, or a podcast. But the conversation with grandma is still interpersonal communication. And the YouTube video, the movies, and the podcast messages are still mass communication. Where these lines become blurred is when someone posts a video (for instance) on their personal social media site intended for interpersonal communication, and it ends up going viral.
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